English dictionary

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English adjective: critical

1. critical marked by a tendency to find and call attention to errors and flaws

SamplesA critical attitude.

Similarcaptious, censorious, deprecative, faultfinding, hypercritical, overcritical, scathing, searing, vituperative

See alsosarcastic, unfavorable, unfavourable


2. critical at or of a point at which a property or phenomenon suffers an abrupt change especially having enough mass to sustain a chain reaction

SamplesA critical temperature of water is 100 degrees C--its boiling point at standard atmospheric pressure.
Critical mass.
Go critical.



Domain categorychemical science, chemistry, natural philosophy, physics


3. critical characterized by careful evaluation and judgment

SamplesA critical reading.
A critical dissertation.
A critical analysis of Melville's writings.

Similarappraising, discriminative, evaluative, judicial

See alsodiscerning, scholarly

Antonymsuncritical, noncritical

4. critical urgently needed; absolutely necessary

SamplesA critical element of the plan.
Critical medical supplies.
Vital for a healthy society.
Of vital interest.




5. critical forming or having the nature of a turning point or crisis

SamplesA critical point in the campaign.
The critical test.


Similarcrucial, important


6. critical being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency

SamplesA critical shortage of food.
A critical illness.
An illness at the critical stage.

Similaracute, dangerous, desperate, dire, grave, grievous, life-threatening, serious, severe

See alsocrucial, important


Antonymsnoncritical, noncrucial

7. critical of or involving or characteristic of critics or criticism

SamplesCritical acclaim.

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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